The misuse of prescription drugs is a growing problem in our nation. In 2010, 2 million people in the U.S. reported using prescription painkillers non-medically (i.e. recreationally) for the first time within the last year. That’s nearly 5,500 new users each day. In fact, more people abuse prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined. They are the second most frequently abused substance – trailing only marijuana.
Even more concerning is the high incidence of death related to prescription drug overdose – every 25 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies as a result of misuse of physician-prescribed medications.
The problem is also escalating in Indiana – especially among young Hoosiers. More than 1 in 5 Indiana students surveyed reported using prescription drugs without a prescription. This is the second highest rate in the nation.
Hirons developed a comprehensive public awareness campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse and misuse in Indiana. The “Bitter Pill” campaign focused on raising awareness of five main facts about prescription drug abuse and misuse. Creative concepts and messaging were tested with focus group participants in three cities prior to campaign launch. The major communication tool of the campaign was the BitterPill.IN.gov website, featuring video testimonials from Indiana residents who have been personally impacted by prescription drug abuse and misuse and resources for Hoosiers and clinicians. The BitterPill.IN.gov website was promoted using TV, radio, online and outdoor mediums. Hirons also aided the Office of the Attorney General in a media relations campaign and Indiana State Fair sponsorship with Aug. 16, 2013, being BitterPill.IN.gov day at the Indiana State Fair.